New Foundations of Dispositionalism

Yesterday - Today
EGENIS/Dept. of Sociology, Philosophy, and Anthropology, University of Exeter

Byrne House
St German's Road
Exeter EX4 4PJ
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Royal Institute of Philosophy
  • Mind/Analysis
  • University of Exeter

All speakers:

Norwegian University Of Life Sciences
Nottingham University
University College London
Durham University
University of Glasgow
Durham University
University of Exeter
Durham University
Freie Universität Berlin
State University of New York, Buffalo


University of Exeter

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Recent years have witnessed a surge of interest for dispositionalism, both in metaphysics and philosophy of science, and philosophy at large. Dispositionalism, the claim that there are genuine powers instantiated in the physical world, is taken by many to be the cornerstone of a new metaphysical system of distinct anti-Humean flavor, offering new accounts for (at least) physical modality, laws of nature, causation, the nature of properties, and much more.

The former generation of dispositionalists secured dispositionalism as an important alternative in the logical space of positions, introducing many notions and issues that we debate today. Yet, despite this universal anti-Humean consensus, philosophers are still struggling with several fundamental aspects of dispositionalist metaphysics, and many related projects still have to leave the programmatic stage. Younger scholars are now working on the clarification of its fundamental tenets, and its compatibility with metaphysical stances (e.g., about the nature of time, properties, physical modality, causation and so forth).

The goal of the conference is to introduce and discuss ideas from the work of the new generation of dispositionalists, both to propel the discussion forward and to secure philosophically firm grounds for future dispositionalists to stand on.

Call for Papers

In addition to our confirmed speakers, we are opening up our conference to two early careers speakers (no more than 3 years since PhD). Thus, we invite submission of 500–1000 words abstracts, anonymized for blind review, for a talk of approximately 45 minutes (including Q&A); submissions should be sent to by January 31st.

Submissions should be relevant with the topic of the conference; a non-exhaustive list of topic of discussions about the metaphysics and ontology of dispositions is the following:

·      The “Governing Problem”: how do powers impose a nomic order unto the world?

·      Time and powers: which metaphysics of time, if any, best suits powers?

·      Powers: tropes, modes, immanent or platonic Universals?

·      The bearers of powers: which entities inhabit a world with powers?

·      Is Dispositionalism a dynamic ontology?

·      Is Dispositionalism a form of modal primitivism? If so, which form?

·      The application of powers outside fundamental metaphysics.

Authors of successful submissions will be notified by the end of February. Accommodation and travel costs will be covered partially for the speakers whose papers are accepted; we are also committed to help with any childcare and accessibility requirements.

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April 30, 2019, 9:00am EET

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